Despite a disappointing end to the 2013 season, the Chicago Fire is planning what they hope will be a major upgrade to its brand in the Chicagoland area.
Fire owner and chairman of Andell Inc., Andrew Hauptman announced this morning on the team's official website the development of the Chicago Fire Soccer Center on the city's North Side.
The year-round soccer facility, expected to open in the summer of 2014 on 4.7 acres on N. Talman Ave. just north of Addison, will become the first air-supported dome within the city limits. The 140,000 square-foot building will feature two outdoor FieldTurf soccer fields, several indoor-sized soccer fields under the removable 72-foot-high dome and around 15,000 square feet of space for offices, restaurants, retail and training facilities and is expected to cost between $15 and $20 million, according to a report from Crain's Chicago Business.
It's part of the Fire's continuing efforts to promote both soccer and the organization in the Chicago area.
“We are thrilled to extend the Chicago Fire presence within the city,” Hauptman said in a press release. “We are investing in this site to increase awareness of the organization and create more accessibility for both new and existing soccer fans. We want the Chicago Fire brand to have a positive impact on the community.”
The Fire will train and practice at the facility at times, namely in preparation for matches on turf fields, and adult and youth leagues alike will also have the chance to take advantage of the center. Both the Chicago Fire Recreational Soccer Program, a 5,000-adult league, and the Chicago Fire Juniors City Team, comprised of more than 250 kids ages 6-18, will have year-round access to compete, train and practice at the Soccer Center.
"In a downtown market that is underserved with fields this new facility will be Chicago’s premier soccer center,” said Hauptman. “It is a real, physical presence for the Fire to use as a means of continuing to engage the soccer community, year round, through leagues, camps, clinics, tournaments and more.”